Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flick Finds - Contained Pendant and Ring

Matching Set- Contained Series Pendant and Ring- White/ Silver

Curled pieces of card stock cast in resin inside of a sterling silver plated ring and pendant bank. From nfall2art's photostream.

Join the Baltimore / Maryland Crafters flickr group, hosted by The Broken Plate, and we may feature you and your work in an upcoming BEST blog. So if you're crafty (and you know you are), and you live in or around Baltimore, look us up. We know you're out there, so show us your stuff! (Note- if you don't have the "embed" option turned on, it's really tricky to link to you!)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Great News For Right Now!

From the Storque on Etsy...

We are so excited to announce that the Commission has voted for a "Stay of Enforcement of Certain Testing and Certification Requirements of CPSIA" — which means that they are proposing a 1 year suspension of the burden of lead testing and certification while they take more time to review the rules and plan enforcement! All of your hard work is paying off (for the time being at least!). You wouldn't have to pay to do the certification and testing, though you are still liable if your products are found to have lead. We are so pleased that artisans and vintage sellers got their voices heard. Your hard work is not over; we must continue to play a role in advocating for small business people throughout the coming year.

Locally Sourced Ohio MAPLE The Maple Wood Triangle Teething Toy tm from Little Alouette

"The action taken today provides breathing space to get in place some of the rules needed for implementation, but it should not be viewed as a full solution to the many problems that have been raised." —U.S. Consumer product Safety Commission

You'll find the press release below:

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger. These requirements are part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which added certification and testing requirements for all products subject to CPSC standards or bans.

Significant to makers of children’s products, the vote by the Commission provides limited relief from the testing and certification requirements which go into effect on February 10, 2009 for new total lead content limits (600 ppm), phthalates limits for certain products (1000 ppm), and mandatory toy standards, among other things. Manufacturers and importers – large and small – of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

The decision by the Commission gives the staff more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted.

The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.

The stay does not apply to:

* Four requirements for third-party testing and certification of certain children’s products subject to:
o The ban on lead in paint and other surface coatings effective for products made after December 21, 2008;
o The standards for full-size and non full-size cribs and pacifiers effective for products made after January 20, 2009;
o The ban on small parts effective for products made after February 15, 2009; and
o The limits on lead content of metal components of children’s jewelry effective for products made after March 23, 2009.
* Certification requirements applicable to ATV’s manufactured after April 13, 2009.
* Pre-CPSIA testing and certification requirements, including for: automatic residential garage door openers, bike helmets, candles with metal core wicks, lawnmowers, lighters, mattresses, and swimming pool slides; and
* Pool drain cover requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.

The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission. However, all businesses, including, but not limited to, handmade toy and apparel makers, crafters and home-based small businesses, must still be sure that their products conform to all safety standards and similar requirements, including the lead and phthalates provisions of the CPSIA.

Handmade garment makers are cautioned to know whether the zippers, buttons and other fasteners they are using contain lead. Likewise, handmade toy manufacturers need to know whether their products, if using plastic or soft flexible vinyl, contain phthalates.

The stay of enforcement on testing and certification does not address thrift and second hand stores and small retailers because they are not required to test and certify products under the CPSIA. The products they sell, including those in inventory on February 10, 2009, must not contain more than 600 ppm lead in any accessible part. The Commission is aware that it is difficult to know whether a product meets the lead standard without testing and has issued guidance for these companies that can be found on our Web site.

The Commission trusts that State Attorneys General will respect the Commission's judgment that it is necessary to stay certain testing and certification requirements and will focus their own enforcement efforts on other provisions of the law, e.g. the sale of recalled products.

Please visit the CPSC Web site for more information on all of the efforts being made to successfully implement the CPSIA.

Happy Birthday Allison!

aka TigerLillyShop

Friday Finds- Year of the Ox

A very Happy Belated Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year Card by AnimalParties.

Lychee, the sweet ox plushie, by shushop.

Pack of Ten Chinese New Year's (Year of the Ox) Lucky Pop-up Cards, by mollylee.

Lucky Ox Button (so cute!) by maustudio.

Year of the Ox Pendant, by suantova.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Laure Drogoul: Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums

An event not to miss this week is the opening of Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul. Drogoul is a 1981 graduate of the Rinehart School at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. She is Baltimore-based interdisciplinary artist, who is best known for her participatory and sensorial works that are articulated through sculpture, installation, performance, and Web-based media. She is the first Rinehart Graduate to be honored such a large scale retrospective. In addition, she performs and organizes the 14Karat Cabaret, which has been a center of the Baltimore avant-garde art scene for the past nineteen years.

This exhibition was curated by Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Exhibitions Department Director Gerald Ross, and organized and produced in partnership with students in the Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) under the guidance of course instructor Glenn Shrum '08.

Check MICA's website for more images, events, educational resources, and a student-authored blog as the opening date of Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul approaches.

Friday, January 30 — Sunday, March 15, 2009

Opening reception: Friday, January 30, 5-8 p.m.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amend the CPSIA - Help!

From Etsy:
Many of our members are aware of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the resulting sense of confusion sellers of children's items are experiencing. These sellers need to know how the legislation will impact their businesses and need to be informed.

The CPSIA is by no means a done deal. We are in conversations with the executive director of the CPSC, and they are listening to the micro-business community! Discussion is ongoing: makers and supporters of handmade and vintage items still need to voice concerns.

In light of this need for information, discussion, and feedback hinging on this important CPSIA issue, Etsy has launched a special temporary forum. Please post any relevant threads there.

Furthermore, for up to the minute info on the CPSIA, we would like to refer folks who are involved or concerned about the CPSIA issue to's new blog, which includes resources and news updates. The Etsy homepage now proudly sports the new badge from, reflecting the focus on this issue.

Please take the Buy Handmade Pledge and show your support for sellers of children's items by placing the badge on your websites and blogs.

Image from sweet pepita.

Craft Demos At Bediboo

Lauraville boutique Bediboo is a cool place to shop for all things cute, but the hip, kid-friendly place also offers classes for moms to meet and have fun! Hypnobirthing, Cloth Diapering, Babywearing -the list goes on. They even offer a weekly meet up for new moms trying to connect with each other.

The other weekend I attended a Crafty Mama Night, featuring BEST's own ThreeWheels Design. Vicki Shields brought out her cool "Score It" and showed us some notebook and box making techniques in her demo. We had a nice evening of "adult speak" (all you moms out there know what I mean) and created some beautiful and useful keepsakes. It was really fun to meet some new people and do something new. Thank you, Vicki!

The next Crafty Mom's Night will be held February 22, Sunday afternoon 4-6pm. Tigerlillyshop will be doing a demo! Join in the magical world of Shrinky Dinks;) Rsvp: here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Business Workshop Recap

A huge thank you to the Creative Alliance, our wonderful panel of speakers, and all of the great people who attended Sunday's seminar on the Business of Craft. There was a wealth of information shared, and we enjoyed meeting all of you! Thanks also to Tya Anthony for documenting the event - these are her photos below, and you can see the rest here.

Cynthia Blake Sanders of Maryland Lawyers for the Arts dispenses sage legal advice.

Jane and Thomas Wynn explain how to make the most of your photographs.

Jen Menkhaus (that's me!) gives the ins and outs of marketing your work at retail fairs and shops.

Interested in future events? Sign up for our mailing list!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Keep it Green, Handmade and Legal!

I first found out about the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) In mid December. And even though I've read countless articles and spoke with congresspersons' and senators' aides about this new law, I've kept the gravity of the future of my business and handmade children's products everywhere locked away so that I could keep going. I asked my friends and family for help and wrote, emotionally removed from my words. Now, with 2 weeks left before the February 10th deadline, I beg you to call your senators and congresspersons to tell them how this law will affect you.

I was (and am still) very lucky to have some really amazing jobs. I've worked with the kindest and most helpful people over the years, and for this I am so grateful. Of course I've had my share of crappy positions, too. In my early teens, I worked at 3 different fast food restaurants. 2 at the same time... I left one and drove straight to the other trying to save every damn minimum wage penny. I was robbed on North Avenue working a day shift. It was not dramatic. A man tried to flimflam me, but I was wise enough not to be bullied into giving him the crazy amount of change that he demanded. I was not wise enough, however, to close my drawer and he reached over the counter, grabbed what he could and stormed out of the place. Management promptly docked my pay.

Sewing clothes for my daughter and for kids all over the place is the most enjoyable and fulfilling work I could have ever dreamed of. Seriously. I take great pride in knowing your baby looks cool. I built a business I believe in. I use only recycled and organic fabric because I care about our environment and our children's future. And, like I said, I want them to look cool.

If for some reason this law goes into effect as-is, unamended, we will survive. We will lose a major chunk of income, our families will have to work even harder to make ends meet, but we will survive. Yes, we will lose thousands upon thousands of dollars in merchandise and non-refundable fees. Childhood will become much more homogenized. We will most definitely cry some more, but we will survive.

I know congress and the senate and the CPSC can hear us... we just have to make sure that our voices are so strong that they can't ignore our pleas. We will survive and we will keep on fighting because we are scrappy like that. And everyone who supports us, well they're scrappy, too. Yeah you are! And we love you for it. Thank you.

Make Your Own Intricate Paper Snowflakes

Here is a family tradition I unintentionally started when I first had my daughter. I suddenly had a lot of indoor time that winter and started tinkering around with paper snowflakes. I found this basic tutorial and quickly got the bug.

Making snowflakes has become something that our family does around the kitchen table late into the night with coffee and cookies. We find a childlike enjoyment making these surprises that unfold in intricate designs.

I still have some hanging around the house that I laminated that first year.

If you aren't in the mood for paper, try your hand at this fun Virtual snowflake maker:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flickr Finds - Seahorse Book

seahorse book
Adorable handmade sketchbook, from PeggyEF's photostream.

Join the
Baltimore / Maryland Crafters flickr group, hosted by The Broken Plate, and we may feature you and your work in an upcoming BEST blog. So if you're crafty (and you know you are), and you live in or around Baltimore, look us up. We know you're out there, so show us your stuff! (Note- if you don't have the "embed" option turned on, it's really tricky to link to you!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Finds- Impatient Gardener

The freezing temperatures don't stop the sudden flux of seed catalogs from pouring in around this time of year. And so we dream of spring days, the smell of dirt and feeling the sun on our necks. And we wait.

Graph paper makes planning your beds so much easier. Use this Aloha Garden Graphing Journal from Night Owl Craftworks to jot down notes and wishes for this year's harvest.

Even plant with your craft in mind. Organic Heirloom Mixed Gourd Plant Seeds from Seven Acre Woods

I think the toughest part about the period just after planting is the bareness. The Veggie Garden Stakes / Plant Markers - A Set of 3 by from Artisan Hands are lovely from the start, but ultimately these markers will help you (or your garden sitter) know what's what.

Playful Agaric Daddy Mushroom from Little Sparrow Nest. Just in case you need some inspiration.

If you don't have the space outside your home, surely you can find some room on the inside. vintage moss terrarium .3 from Made by Mavis

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thanks AGAIN, Baltimore Magazine!


Celebrate the Chinese New Year and a Grand Opening!

715 Park Avenue
(near the intersection of Park and Madison,
bottom floor -enter through the door to the left)
Saturday, January 24th, 2009
10:00am – 6:00pm
Come join in celebration of all our new beginnings: the Chinese New Year, a new American Presidency, the new moon, the opening of Ancient Arts Wellness, and the start of your new lease on life!

There will be free soup (both vegetarian & chicken) provided by SoupsOn Baltimore and a variety of teas provided by Teavolve.

The excitement begins around 11:15am when the Wong People Kung FuSchool will perform a traditional Chinese New Year's Lion Dance (think dancing dragon). It should last about 40 minutes.

Later in the afternoon, at 3pm, Denham Fassett will perform for an hour on the mbira, a traditional African instrument that is really quite beautiful.

Finally, there will be a closing meditation around 5:30pm and the day will be complete.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Business of Craft Workshop - Speaker Bios

Cynthia Blake Sanders is an experienced intellectual property and media lawyer with a practice spanning copyright, trademark, fair use, licensing, advertising, and technology transfer issues. She represents publishers, advertisers, advertising agencies, filmmakers, record labels, producers, performing artists, visual artists, songwriters, authors, graphic designers, health care companies, colleges and universities, trade associations, and software developers. A textile artist and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Cynthia is an active member of Baltimore’s arts community. She is a volunteer attorney and serves on the board of Maryland Lawyers for the Arts. She also serves on the boards of the Advertising Association of Baltimore (AAB), and the Black Cherry Puppet Theater, and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland, School of Law where she teaches Entertainment and Sports Law. Cynthia is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Intellectual Property and Entertainment and Sports Law Sections. She earned her B.F.A from MICA in 1985 and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1999. Cynthia lives in the Roland Park community of Baltimore with her husband, artist D.S. Bakker and children Anna and John. Cynthia enjoys running, yoga and gardening.

Thomas Wynn was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where at the age of 15 he received his first camera as a gift. Thus a new outlet of artist expression was born and a new direction in life was started. While attending college and working as a photographers assistant Thomas entered into the Medical Photography training program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. This is also the time he realized the importance of computers were to be in the future of photography. He went out and purchased his first Macintosh and self taught himself Photoshop. After leaving Hopkins he went to work for the University of Maryland at Baltimore and now currently manages the Photography and Arts Section for two divisions of the National Institutes of Health. He currently teaches workshops around the country based of alternative processes for photography. Thomas Wynn’s works are shown in galleries on the east coast and he has been published in various books, medical journals and Rolling Stone magazine.

Nita Gale was introduced to the World Wide Web while working for Winterland Productions, then the marketing division for MCA Music / Universal Pictures. She was immediately inspired and began to see its practical applications. After receiving a Presidential Appointment to civil service, she had the opportunity to make her ideas a reality. Using materials garnered from the many off site training classes at the Department of Defense's Leadership Development College she began to write her first bit of code. Working at night, her plan was to make classes no longer dependent on budget or time constraints but to offer every employee the opportunity of education " at your own pace - in your own space." Upon completion of her project, she presented it and a supporting paper "Workforce 2000" to key members of the DoD. Her initiative was hugely successful quickly becoming the DoD standard practice. After completion of her federal commitment, Nita entered the private sector. She worked at Solomon Smith Barney (Citigroup) as the lead java developer and her project was mentioned in Bill Gates' Business @ The Speed of Thought. She then became lead developer or special projects team leader for other companies in their initial on line ventures, including but not limited to Sotheby's and Sotheby's Amazon joint venture, IBM, Datek, iCopious, and Town Sports International. She also contributed to special projects and kiosk displays for BMW International and the NFL.

Amelia Ariella Levin is the founder and President of Baltimore’s Best Bookkeeper, Inc., a growing accounting and business support company serving a wide variety of local enterprises for eight years. A seasoned entrepreneur, Ms. Levin founded and participated in a real estate firm that operates in Baltimore, as well as closely participating in family enterprises including investment, engineering and manufacturing activities. Ms. Levin is a 1980 graduate of Goucher College with a B.A. in Theater. Her participation in the arts ranges from acting to nurturing her own crafts and art creations enterprise, Sun Fire Galleries. Ms. Levin is a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and a Quick Books Pro Advisor with 25 years of bookkeeping & accounting experience.

Jen Menkhaus has close to 10 years experience in retail merchandising and buying. She spent several years working for Anthropologie, one of the most respected lifestyle merchandising companies, and there developed a mastery of the relationship between sales and display. She later worked as a decorator, buyer, and sales analyst for a local interiors store, where she learned about the day-to-day of managing an independent business. Jen applied this knowledge as the Exhibitor Services Director for the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, where she advised craft artists on booth display, product line development, pricing, marketing, and building relationships with buyers. Jen currently runs her craft business, The Littlest Bean, does consulting and marketing for craft artists, gives talks on product line development and gallery relationships for craft artists, occasionally teaches at MICA's Creative Entrepreuneurship Program, and helps run the Baltimore Etsy Street Team, all while chasing around her 3 year old daughter.

Get Back to School!

Do you have questions about wholesale? Taxes? Copyright? What about getting great images of your work? Or effectively promoting yourself on the web?

Maintaining a successful business is hard work and can feel overwhelming when you are the person responsible for everything from design to production, accounting, marketing, shipping and sales. It's time to step out of the studio and arm yourself with information. You know how they say 'knowledge is power'? In the business world it's also time, money, success and probably sanity, too.

image by mare.bowe

Register for BEST's first business meet-up at the Creative Alliance this Sunday, January 25th. The meet-up will feature roundtable discussions led by Cynthia Blake Sanders, MD Lawyers for the Arts; Rebecca Cason, former director of the Buyer's Market of American Craft; Jen Menkhaus, working crafter and one of the founders of the Baltimore Street Team; Nita Gale, web designer; Ariella Levin of Baltimore's Best Bookkeeper; and Thomas Wynn, professional photographer.

Practical discussions will include legal and accounting basics; marketing, wholesale and pricing; and looking your best– on the web and in promo photos. Lunch will be provided (mouth-watering white bean hummus sandwiches!), a great time to get connected with other local artists and crafters to make new friends, show off your work, and share ideas. Come join us!

Sun Jan 25. 10am-2:30pm.
Adv reg $25, $20 CA & BEST mbrs. Walk-in $30, $25 CA & BEST mbrs. Includes lunch.

Register here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tune in to Umbrella Radio

As an artist and arts-associated membership organization, the Mill Valley Cultural Arts Umbrella cultivates a diverse art environment through community activism and collaboration. It supports, promotes and showcases the arts, music, culture and humanities in North Baltimore's neighborhoods. Umbrella Radio is community radio for these neighborhoods and beyond. It provides community news, community based programing and local original music.

Be sure to check out the calendar for the schedule of live and local programming like bi-monthly performances by the Baltimore Songwriters Association, and weekly podcast Arts and Letters with Urbanite magazine editor Marianne Amoss.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Favorite Shops: Handmade Pretties

It's time to patch things up....with Lara Newsom's Handmade Pretties. Hailing from Iowa, Lara creates some of the most colorful, fun skirts I've seen in a while!

3-6 month Pastel Sweater Skirt

And her patchwork sweater balls are great too. Made from recycled sweaters, these goodies are not only great for the environment, they're also great for the soul!

Sweater Ball

Post written by YummyAndCompany

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Keeping Baltimore Green with Baltidome!

There is a new website in town to keep you up to date on all things green in Baltimore! Baltidome is a growing resource to help local folks reuse, recycle and restore in an effort to keep Baltimore beautiful. On this site you can locate local thrift shops, recycled art, furniture restoration experts and even a list of all local farmers markets and events! Be sure to check back often for new ways you can keep B-more green!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Finds: Inauguration Edition

"Lip Balm" by themefragrance

It's hard to believe, but finally, Inauguration day is upon us. It is the beginning of a new era and time for our country. Here are some great Etsy finds to get you in the mood for Tuesday, January 20th.

Show your patriotic spirit with these red, white and blue vintage pumps. Sophistikate.

Although the election process is behind us, this journal features a reclaimed New Yorker magazine cover from October 2008. Moonlightbindery.

This dish by Paloma's Nest was created to commemorate the inauguration and election of our new president.

If you are going to be attending the inauguration, these vintage binoculars would be a smashing (and practical) accessory to have. Peacockenvy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The American Craft Council Announces the 2009 AltCraft Artists

The American Craft Council announced last week that seventeen makers have been selected to participate in the AltCraft section at its flagship show, The American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, February 27 through March 1, 2009 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

“The Council is pleased for these talented artists and indie designers to be a part of this well-established event,” said Andrew Glasgow, executive director of the American Craft Council. “These makers illustrate the innovative techniques and materials of the burgeoning new handmade craft movement and, as the leading voice in contemporary craft, we recognize and celebrate these individuals.”

AltCraft Artists were selected from hundreds of applicants through a rigorous jury process. They will present their work together in a bustling space on the show floor. Among the eclectic items available for purchase, attendees will find jewelry made entirely from reclaimed and surplus industrial materials; scarves of recycled goods dyed to create 3-D textures; handmade books and paper goods; individually hand-stitched toys; ceramics with hand-drawn designs; mixed-media work by local artists and much more!

The 2009 AltCraft Artists at The American Craft Council Show in Baltimore:

• Annie Chau of Imogene (Baltimore, MD)
• Jennifer Cooke of Raeburn Ink (Northampton, MA)
Amber Coppings (Pittsburgh, PA)
• Deborah Cracchiolo of Tee-Pee-Toes (Detroit, MI)
Jane D’Arensbourg (Brooklyn, NY)

anemone platter from Little Flower Designs

• Shannon Delanoy of Sweet Pepita (Baltimore, MD)
• Allison Fomich of Tigerlillyshop (Baltimore, MD)
• Rania Hassan of Goshdarnknit (Washington, DC)
• Linda Johnson of Little Flower Designs (Abington, PA)
• Melissa Kolbusz of Wired (Chicago, IL)

yes. okay. bird collage print from Astulabee

• Nicole Licht of Astulabee (Brooklyn, NY)
• Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg of Nervous System (Saugerties, NY)
• Elizabeth Rubidge of Felted Garden (Westport, CT)
• Julie Schneider of Your Secret Admiral (Brooklyn, NY)
• Margaret and Josh Smith of Dovetail Ceramics (Lexington, KY)
Ryan Takaba (San Antonio, TX)
• Ping Wu (Chicago, IL)

The AMERICAN CRAFT COUNCIL is a national, nonprofit public educational organization founded in 1943 by Aileen Osborn Webb. The mission of the Council is to promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft. Programs include the bimonthly magazine AMERICAN CRAFT, annual juried shows presenting artists and their work, a leadership conference, the Aileen Osborn Webb Awards honoring excellence, workshops, seminars, and a research library.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Very Happy Belated Birthday Lauren!

aka Jersey Girl Design

Indie-Pendant Business - Brunie's Bakery

I am far from Vegan, so what I met Tamara of Brunie's Bakery at a craft show last year, I was a bit skeptical that her vegan sweet treats could taste as good as they looked. Well, let me tell you, she does not disappoint! My first treat from Brunie's was a gigantic loaded brownie, which put my egg and milk filled variety to shame! I thought I had found her masterpiece until I tried a a chocolate peanut butter awesome cupcake this year. She had me at whipped peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache!

So, vegan or not, whether you need a birthday, wedding cake, cup cakes for kids with allergies, or just a pick-me-up, consider calling Tamara of Brunie's Bakery for yummy vegan treats that taste as great as they look!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CPSIA Update, part II

From Etsy:

Many of our members are aware of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the resulting sense of confusion sellers of children's items are experiencing. These sellers need to know how the legislation will impact their businesses and need to be informed.

The CPSIA is by no means a done deal. We are in conversations with the executive director of the CPSC, and they are listening to the micro-business community! Discussion is ongoing: makers and supporters of handmade and vintage items still need to voice concerns.

In light of this need for information, discussion, and feedback hinging on this important CPSIA issue, Etsy has launched a special temporary forum. Please post any relevant threads there.

Furthermore, for up to the minute info on the CPSIA, we would like to refer folks who are involved or concerned about the CPSIA issue to's new blog, which includes resources and news updates. The Etsy homepage now proudly sports the new badge from, reflecting the focus on this issue.

Please take the Buy Handmade Pledge and show your support for sellers of children's items by placing the badge on your websites and blogs.

CPSIA Update needs your vote again!

Thank you so much for your support of the Handmade Toy Alliance. Membership numbers continue to grow and they have been receiving many positive press responses. They have issued letters to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, responding to the agencies requests for comments on the CPSIA. Many of us have contacted our Congress People, hoping for their support in changing the law.

Currently, the Handmade Toy Alliance is in the running to have this issue presented to President-elect Obama, but they need your help to make this happen. Please vote to save small businesses from the CPSIA here.

The Handmade Toy Alliance remains grateful to all of you, your trust in our products and your ability to work with us to make a positive change in this legislation.

Hot Off the Press—Stitch Magazine

I don’t know about you, but the craft-related magazines I see most often are not a good fit for me. They are either too simple or too difficult or too kitschy or too tacky or too…..whatever. But now, there’s a new magazine called Stitch, put out by Quliting Arts Magazine, that’s just right.

First of all, the articles are great. The cover article profiles 5 great skirts with cool detail that sets them apart and will inspire you to make your own innovations.

Stitch puts a huge emphasis on buying handmade, in that the magazine includes several lists of handmade sewing-related gifts, cool indie pattern companies, and profiles of great sewing sites.

This issue also has an article about sewing with sustainable fabrics and a bunch of gifts to make that you would actually like receive, like these:

I’m not sure when this special issue will come out again, if at all, but we could sure use more Stitch!

Post written by BennyAndHeidi

Monday, January 12, 2009

Favorite Shop: Mogwaii

Sara Campbell, the genius behind the Etsy shop Mogwaii, creates the most stunning pieces with pure wool. Her pillows, French Press cozies, and creatures all have simple and elegant compositions that are often nature inspired. There is also something about her work that somehow seems pure. This all comes to us from a rugged island in north west Scotland. Isn't it great how Etsy can make talent so far away so accessible?

"Custom Wedding Quilt"

"Lavina the Hebridean Hen"